Still another expression for the Scriptures is *Torah, used in the widest sense of the term as the revelation of religion.
While it is only occasionally so employed for the Bible in rabbinic literature (cf. ), the fact that νóμος, the Greek rendering of Torah, is found in the New Testament in the same way (John , quoting Ps.
82:6) indicates that it may once have been in more common use among Jews.
24:7; Kings 22:8, 10) is alternatively styled the "Book of the Covenant" (ibid. The Wisdom of Ben Sira () actually uses the latter term βιβλως διαθήκης) parallel with Torah (νóμος), and a similar usage is found in The term as applied to the Bible designates specifically the closed nature of the corpus of sacred literature accepted as authoritative because it is believed to be divinely revealed.
The history of the word helps to explain its usage. 40:5), both of which senses passed into Greek (κάννα, κανών). The concept enshrined in the "canon" is distinctively and characteristically Jewish.
"Canon" derives ultimately from an old Semitic word with the meaning of "reed" or "cane" (Heb. Metaphorically, it came to be used as a rule or standard of excellence and was so applied by the Alexandrian grammarians to the Old Greek classics. Through it the canonized Scriptures were looked upon as the faithful witness to the national past, the embodiment of the hopes and dreams of a glorious future, and the guarantee of their fulfillment.
In the second century, κανών had come to be used in Christian circles in the sense of "rule of faith." It was the Church Fathers of the fourth century who first applied "canon" to the sacred Scriptures. They constituted, in time, the main source for the knowledge of Hebrew and typified the supreme standard of stylistic excellence.
Early Moves Toward Critical Study Nineteenth-Century Pentateuch Criticism and Wellhausen The Influence of Archaeology Gunkel and "Form" Criticism "Biblical Theology" Archaeological Evidence Developments in the 1970s Developments in the Late 20 There is no single designation common to all Jews and employed in all periods by which the Jewish Scriptures have been known.
The earliest and most diffused Hebrew term was Ha-Sefarim ("The Books"). The Greek speaking Jews adopted this usage and translated it into their vernacular as τἁ βιβλία.
Its antiquity is supported by its use in Daniel in reference to the prophets (Dan. This is how the sacred writings are frequently referred to in tannaitic literature (Meg. The earliest record of such is the Letter of *Aristeas (mid-second century ) similarly employs "The Books" to designate the entire Scriptures (Ecclus., prologue, v. It is from this Hellenistic Jewish usage of τἁ βιβλία, which entered European languages through its Latin form, that the English "Bible" is derived.
The term Sifrei ha-Kodesh (Sifre ha-Qodesh; "Holy Books"), although not found in Hebrew literature before the Middle Ages, seems to have been used occasionally by Jews even in pre-Christian times. Here the definition is required since the Hebrew כתב (ktb) did not develop a specialized meaning and was equally employed for secular writing (cf. The title "Holy Writings" was also current in Jewish Hellenistic and in Christian circles, appearing in Greek as αὶ ὶεραὶ γραφαὶ (Philo, Fug.
The author of (First Epistle, 43:1) refer to "the Holy Books" (αὶ ὶεραὶ βὶβλοι). 1:4; Clement's First Epistle 45:2; 53:1), as τἁ ἱερἁ γράμματα (Philo, Mos. Closely allied to the preceding is the title Ha-Katuv ("The Scripture"; Pe'ah 8:9; Ta'an. 4:5; Avot 3:7, 8, et al.) and the plural Ha-Ketuvim ("The Scriptures"; Yad. These, too, were taken over by the Jews of Alexandria in the Greek equivalent, probably the earliest such example being the Letter of Aristeas (vv. This term was borrowed by the early Christians (ὴγραΦή John ; Acts ; Cor. These uses of the Hebrew root ktb ("to write") to specify the Scriptures have special significance, for they lay emphasis on the written nature of the text in contradistinction to the oral form in which the rabbinic teachings were transmitted. "reading"), another term for the Bible current among the rabbis, serves to underline both the vocal manner of study and the central role that the public reading of the Scriptures played in the liturgy of the Jews.
The appelation is rare, however, since the increasing restriction of sefer in rabbinic Hebrew to sacred literature rendered superfluous any further description. The designation is found in tannaitic sources (Ned.
On the other hand, Kitvei ha-Kodesh (Kitve ha-Qodesh; "Holy Writings"), is fairly common in tannaitic sources as a designation for the Scriptures (Shab. 4:3; Avot ; , Ta'an, 4:2, 68a), but it may be much older, as Nehemiah 8:8suggests.